Tag Archives: healthy eating

Nothing Says Fall More Than This Sumac-Spiced Roasted Delicata With Tahini Lemon Drizzle

When there’s a dish that incorporates all of our favourite things — squash, tahini and sumac — we know it’s a good one. Delicata squash is a fall delicacy — it’s only available in the autumn months, so take advantage now! You don’t have to peel it (woohoo!), and since it’s on the smaller side, it cooks fairly quickly, unlike other heartier squashes. It’s sweet and earthy and so perfectly takes on the natural lemony flavour of sumac. Once roasted, grab some kale and tahini drizzle — and for pops of juicy, fruity flavour, some craisins or pomegranate seeds. This dish is the epitome of fall flavours we love.

Sumac-Spiced Roasted Delicata With Tahini Lemon Drizzle

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 delicata squash, halved, de-seeded and sliced into ¼ -inch thick semi circles
1 red onion, sliced into strips
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp sumac
½ tsp sea salt, divided
Pinch of pepper
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup cold water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped kale
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup craisins or pomegranate seeds
Few Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prep the squash and onion, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with sumac, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Toss around. Then roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prep the tahini sauce in a bowl. Mix together tahini, cold water, lemon juice, garlic and ¼ tsp salt.

4. On a long platter or in a big bowl, place the chopped kale. Add a pinch of salt and a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Begin massaging the kale (basically, just squeezing the kale in your hands) to help make it more digestible and easier to eat.

5. Layer the roasted squash and onion on top. Scatter the toasted walnuts, craisins and parsley on top, then drizzle the tahini sauce.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s sumac-spiced delicata? Try their slow cooker beef Bolognese or their no-bake chocolate oat bars.

These Curried Brussels Sprouts Are the Fall Side Dish You Need Right Now

Fall is all about making roasted veggies — and Brussels sprouts should be high up on that list. Their small size and nutty taste make them perfect for roasting. The key is to get the edges crispy and caramelized by roasting them cut side down at a high temperature. And don’t even think about removing the small leaves that fall off — those become so crunchy and make the best Brussels sprouts chips. In this recipe, we use a delicious curry spice mix to take them to next level. All you need to do is cut the Brussels sprouts, toss them in the spice mix and roast them on a sheet pan. The perfect side dish for any meal!

Curried Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 large garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp chilli powder (more to taste)
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the Brussels sprouts well and pat dry using a paper towel. Trim the ends and cut in half lengthwise. It’s fine if some of the outer leaves fall off, keep them to roast on the pan.

2. Peel the garlic and crush it using a garlic press. Mix together the curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, salt, olive oil and crushed garlic.

3. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the marinade ensuring they are well coated. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down on a sheet pan and space them out evenly (do not overcrowd!).

4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Serve as a side with lemon wedges.

Looking for more fall recipes? Try this vegan pumpkin soup or this easy paleo butternut squash tart.

This Comforting Mujadara Recipe is Our Favourite Way to Cook Rice

Mujadara is a simple and delicious dish of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions. The first-known recipe of this popular Middle Eastern dish can be found in a 13th-century Iraqi cookbook. This vegetarian meal was once considered to be “food of the poor” — as its inexpensive and readily available ingredients can feed many people. It gets its rich, infused flavour by coating the rice in olive oil and spices before cooking it. If you have leftover rice, you can improvise a cheat version of mujadara and fold it in with the lentils and onions at the end. But it’s always best to start with a traditional recipe from scratch before you begin experimenting with shortcuts — so you know how it’s meant to turn out. This recipe is adapted from methods from my favourite Middle Eastern chefs, who bring Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Syrian influences to their recipes. I remember trying mujadara for the first time as a little girl and savouring the crispy onions — and now, when I make it for my own children, they also eat the onions first!

Vegetarian Mujadara

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (depending on if it’s a main or side)

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced as evenly as possible
1 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 bunch of parsley, picked off the stems and roughly chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered for serving
Sea salt and black pepper

Serve this mujadara recipe warm or at room temperature, with a side of plain Greek yogurt or labneh, lemon wedges, parsley and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber.

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil on medium to high in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add half of the onions. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich golden brown. Some dark bits are fine, that’s where you’ll get the bitterness. If the onions are all the same size, they will cook more evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a colander or plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. (Act fast— the onions crisp up quickly at this stage and it’s in the last seconds where they’ll go from brown to black if you’re not careful). Season with salt. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

2. While the onions are frying, add the lentils to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm in the centre. Drain and set aside.

Related: 25 Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

3. Drain the oil from the saucepan you fried the onions in and wipe it clean. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, rice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. If you’re adding sugar, now is the time to put it in as well. Bring to a boil before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. (Be patient and don’t open the lid — you don’t want any of that steam to escape).

4. Remove from heat, take the lid off and immediately cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on, sealing tightly. This will allow the mujadara to keep steaming gently. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving platter and then gently fold in half the fried onions.
Top with the second half of the fried onions and garnish with parsley.

Like Claire’s vegetarian mujadara? Try her mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

Naturally briny, yet subtly sweet, miyeok (seaweed) is a Korean pantry staple used in soups and salads for that perfect umami taste. Miyeok muchim (seaweed salad) is often served with other banchan (Korean side dishes) — however, BBQ fare is the quintessential accompaniment to the vinegary, crunchy and cold flavours of the sea. Pair this sweet and sour seaweed salad (say that three times fast!) with any grilled protein or with noodles and leafy greens.

Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups dried seaweed
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
4 tsp sugar or honey
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 mini cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ English cucumber, julienned (use a Japanese mandoline if you can!)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
¼ tsp Korean hot pepper flakes (optional)

Tip: Look for large, clear packages of dried seaweed in Korean/Asian grocery store or order online. In its raw form, it’s dried, almost black and turns green after soaking or blanching in boiling water.

Directions:

1. Place dried seaweed in a large bowl and cover with cold water until fully expanded and supple (about 20 minutes). Drain and rinse twice, swishing it around to remove the salt used in the drying process.

2. While the seaweed is blooming in the cold water, make the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, stir the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the onion and let it pickle for 5 minutes before adding the sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, sea salt and sesame seeds.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the seaweed and blanch for 30 seconds; drain and cover in cold, running water until cooled. Drain and squeeze excess water with both hands. Roughly chop the seaweed and let stand in a colander or sieve.

Related: 14 Tasty Korean Recipes to Make Tonight

4. Add the cucumbers and seaweed to the vinaigrette mixture. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and Korean hot pepper flakes before serving.

Tip: You can cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If you’re planning ahead, toss in the cucumbers a few hours before serving. The cucumbers and seaweed will continue to release water, so toss and taste the salad, adding more vinegar or a pinch of sugar if needed.

Like Soo’s seaweed salad recipe? Try your hand at her pork banh mi burgers or restaurant-worthy Chinese scallion pancakes.

These No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars Are Sinfully Healthy

If there is ever a reason to eat chocolate for breakfast, now is the time. These healthy oatmeal bars will be your new favourite dessert, snack and morning meal. There’s a bottom layer of oat shortbread cookie, topped with smooth chocolate and almond butter and finished with oat cookie crumbs. You can give them your own spin by swapping out almond butter for peanut butter, tahini or your favourite nut/seed butter. And you can use flavoured chocolate like coffee, salted caramel or toasted almond to give even more depth and flavour. Who says your next sweet treat needs to be unhealthy or even require the use of the oven?! You can thank us later.

No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Servings: 8 bars

Ingredients:

Oat Layer
½ cup coconut oil or butter
¾ cup almond butter
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Chocolate Layer
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 150 gram chocolate bar
¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter

Directions:

1. Place a pot over medium-low heat. Add in the coconut oil and almond butter and as they soften and gently melt, pour in the coconut sugar and mix.

2. Toss in the rolled oats, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt, turn heat to low and stir well to fully combine. After 3 minutes remove from the heat.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

3. Combine the chocolate and almond butter in a double boiler and stir until melted and creamy.

4. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch pan and place parchment paper in it. Ensure the parchment comes up slightly over the sides so that once the bars are done, they pull out easily.

5. Take ¾ of the oat mixture and press it down into the pan. Use your hands and/or the back of a measuring cup to push it down into a nice even layer.

6. Then pour most of the chocolate mixture over the oat layer and cascade the rest of the oat mixture on top, no need to press in, just crumble over.

7. Then drizzle over the remaining chocolate with the back of a spoon. You can also top with shredded coconut, toasted almonds and/or chocolate chips.

8. Place in the fridge for 2 hours until solidified. Gently pull them out of the pan and slice into bars. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s creation? Try their epic waffle platter or their vegan brownies (where they test five vegan egg substitutes!).

This is the Right Way to Freeze Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

Whether you stocked up on too many fresh vegetables at the market or your summer vegetable garden is growing wild, I am here to show you how to properly freeze your vegetables and herbs. There are a few simple steps you have to take to ensure they will stay vibrant, fresh and full of flavour. It will also give them a much longer shelf life than if you just placed the veggies and herbs straight into the freezer. Just be sure to use ripe produce. OK — let’s get freezing!

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Step 1: Chop Vegetables and Herbs

If you’re planning to use the veggies or herbs straight from the freezer as a side dish or stirred right into your pot or pan, I recommend chopping them into bite-sized pieces first.

Step 2: Blanch Vegetables

Blanching is an important step to freezing fresh vegetables as it will stop enzyme actions that result in a loss of colour and flavour. This will also clean the vegetables. This step is not required for herbs. To blanch, simply bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes. The timing will depend on the type of vegetable being blanched. For example broccoli and asparagus will be on the shorter end, whereas carrots will take a bit longer.

Related: Time for a Pasta Maker? (And 9 Other Kitchen Essentials You Deserve Right Now)

Step 3: Shock Vegetables

Once the vegetables are blanched, immediately strain and submerge them into an ice bath. This will halt the cooking process so the vegetables do not cook any further and it’ll keep them vibrant. This step is not required for herbs.

Step 4: Dry and Portion Vegetables and Herbs

Strain the vegetables from the ice bath and transfer them onto a kitchen towel to dry. Place them on a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 60 minutes. Portion them into desired freezer bags and label with the packaged date. Transfer back to the freezer and use when needed! Vegetables will stay fresh for up to 12 months. For herbs, transfer them to an ice cube tray and fill with water. This way they are ready to go for soups, sauces and stews.

Related: The Ultimate Herb Guide: Varieties and Best Uses

Looking for more sanity-saving kitchen tips? Here’s how to organize your Tupperware drawer once and for all, plus the best way to prevent freezer burn for good.

Anna Olson’s Herbed Avocado Dip Will Take Your Sandwiches and Veggies to the Next Level

As we continue to spend more time at home, there’s no time like the present to get kids engaged in meal prep and cooking. And what better way to keep little hands busy than with a versatile homemade spread that they can help you make in the kitchen?

This mouth-watering herbed spread crafted by Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson is as creamy and decadent as it looks — and we wouldn’t want it any other way!  Use it as a flavourful dip for vegetables, as a sauce for grilled salmon or chicken, as a creamy dressing on salads and potato salads, or even in place of mayo on a sandwich.

Related: Meet the Kid Chefs Competing on Junior Chef Showdown

If you’re looking for more fun activities for the kids, download our latest Junior Chef Showdown colouring page.

Anna Olson’s Healthy Avocado Dip and Dressing

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes: about 1 cup

Ingredients: 

¾ cup Greek yogurt
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro, basil, mint, dill or any combination, roughly chopped
2 to 6 tbsp rice vinegar (see note)*
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 Greek pitas
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 4-inch sticks
2 stalks celery, cut into 4-inch sticks
½ English cucumber, but into ¼-inch rounds

Related: Indulge in Dessert for Breakfast With Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Pancakes

Directions:

1.Puree yogurt, avocado, green onions, herbs, rice vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth in the bowl of a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of pitas with olive oil. Grill pitas in batches until golden and charred, about 2 minutes per side. Cut into 8 wedges each.

3. Place veggies and pitas on a serving platter along with dip.

*Add 2 to 3 tbsp vinegar for a dip. Add up to 6 tbsp for a looser mixture to dress salads. This will keep for up to 5 days, refrigerated.


Watch Junior Chef Showdown Tuesdays at 9ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

 

Sarah Britton’s Vegan Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Will Make You Want to Celebrate

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

This time around, she’s given us a reason to celebrate at home — birthday or not — with a vegan citrus and chocolate birthday cake that you’ll crave all year round.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Ingredients:

4 cups/720g pitted dates
½ cup/50g raw cacao powder
½ tsp sea salt
Grated zest of 2 organic oranges
1 cup plant-based milk of your choice

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Directions:

1. If the dates are really dry, soak them in warm water for an hour or so, until softened. Then drain the dates.

2. Combine the dates, cacao powder, salt and orange zest in a food processor, and pulse to break up the dates. Then slowly add the milk with the processor running until you have a thick, silky frosting that is easy to spread. You may need to stop periodically and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor. If you have any leftovers, store them, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

2 cups/280g whole spelt flour
½ cup/50g unsweetened cacao powder
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
1¼ cups/ 30ml plant-based milk of your choice
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Blood Orange Cake Ingredients:

2½ cups/360g whole spelt flour
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
Grated zest of 2 organic blood oranges
1¼ cups/300ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 5 oranges)
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Decorations:

100g dark chocolate (80%), melted
A few slices dehydrated citrus
3 Tbsp dehydrated raspberries

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly oil two 7–inch/18cm springform cake pans.

2. Make the chocolate cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

3. Make the blood orange cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

4. Pour each bowl of batter into its own prepared cake pan. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Set the cakes on a wire rack and let them cool for about 20 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Let the cakes cool completely. You may even want to bake them the night before.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

5. Use a long knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, creating four thin layers, total.

6. Put the 7” blood orange cake layer on a platter. Spread the top with about a quarter of the frosting. Put the 7” chocolate cake layer on top, and spread it with frosting. Repeat with the remaining blood orange and chocolate layers.

7. Use the melted chocolate to decorate the dehydrated citrus slices by dipping some into the chocolate half way, and drizzling chocolate over others. Decorate the top of the cake with the decorated dehydrated citrus and crumbled dried raspberries. Serve. (The cake keeps rather well at room temperature, covered, for 5 days.)

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies and easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.


 

Sarah Britton’s Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies = Our New Favourite Treat

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.


This time around, she’s elevated the humble cookie and transformed it into a salty and sweet keto-friendly treat that you’ll want to make on repeat.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies

Homemade Tahini Ingredients: 
Makes about 2 cups (500ml)

4 cups / 300g un-hulled (brown/variegated) sesame seeds
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup cold-pressed sesame oil (olive oil works too)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread sesame seeds out on two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to toast for 15-20, stirring a couple times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blend on high until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Add salt and blend.

3. Store tahini in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups / 220g almond flour
½ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup / 175ml tahini
½ cup / 125ml yacon syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 50g chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp. crushed cacao nibs, plus 2 Tbsp. to garnish

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C. Lightly grease, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, black pepper and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan whisk tahini, yacon syrup, and vanilla together over low heat until runny. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough will be thick and you may need to use your hands to finish mixing. When the dough has cooled, fold in chopped chocolate and cacao nibs.

4. Roll about a tablespoon and a half worth of the dough in the palm of your hands, into a ball. Flatten slightly, then place on the prepared tray, sprinkle with a few more cacao nibs and a pinch of flaky salt. Lightly press the toppings into the dough.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.

Watch The Substitute Baker Wednesdays at 4ep on the Food Network Canada Facebook page.

The Only Dinner-Worthy Salad You’ll Need This Spring

Spring is here, and it’s time to celebrate with this marinated artichoke salad! We know artichokes seem like a lot of work, but the tender baby variety requires a lot less prep. Serve as a side salad for four or a healthy and easy weeknight dinner for two. If you can’t find baby artichokes, swap them for good-quality marinated ones.

Related: 25 Simple Spring Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
⅓ cup farro
5 lemons
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp black peppercorns
12 baby artichokes
¼ cup olive oil
1 finger chili, thinly sliced (optional)
4 cups loosely packed arugula
100-g prosciutto, torn into 2-in pieces
2 Tbsp cup mint, roughly torn
¼ cup shaved Parmesan

Related: The Spring Chicken Recipes to Make All Season Long

Directions:
1. Cook farro according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a baking sheet to dry.

2. Juice 3 lemons into a large bowl, reserving 2 tbsp juice. Stir in 4 cups water and set aside.

3. Combine 4 cups water, juice from remaining two lemons, garlic, 1 tsp salt and peppercorns in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

4. Meanwhile, working with one artichoke at a time, cut away the top 1/2-inch of leaves, trim and discard the tough outer leaves, then peel and trim the stem. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise, then transfer to acidulated water.

Related: These Breakfast Ideas Will Get You Excited for Spring

5. Once all the artichokes have been processed, drain and transfer to the boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove artichokes from water and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, chili (if using) and reserved 2 tbsp lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.

6. To assemble salad, toss farro, arugula and prosciutto together in bowl with artichokes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates and garnish with Parmesan and mint.

For more hearty, dinner-worthy salad creations, try this spring vegetable panzanella salad, along with these 15 healthy meal-sized salad ideas.

This Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Will Make You a Morning Person

It just might be the case that three of the very best ingredients in the world are tahini, chocolate and coffee. So naturally, we were committed to finding a way to stir them all together into one delectable healthy breakfast that can’t be beat. Enter this creamy, flavour-forward granola with a kick of coffee and cacao powder. These three ingredients marry well together because they heighten each other’s bitterness, sweetness and richness, making this granola such a treat. Sprinkle it onto yogurt (or a non-dairy equivalent) for added texture and creaminess… and while you’re at it, double the batch.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts That’ll Get You Excited for Spring

Healthy Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Recipe

Servings: 6 ½ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
⅓ cup ground decaf coffee (or caffeinated if you want an extra kick!)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup tahini
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, butter or avocado oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. If you like, you can roughly chop the nuts and seeds by hand or in a food processor.

3. Place a saucepan on medium heat and whisk together the tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil until velvety.

Related: How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways (And Why It’s the Best Non-Dairy Option)

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and mix until well combined.

5. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if needed, as you don’t want to overcrowd the granola.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

6. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the 15-20 minute mark (we stirred at 20 minutes) then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes so the granola has the opportunity to harden.

7. Enjoy with dairy or non-dairy yogurt or milk, or by the handful.

Keep morning meals a priority and whip up a batch of these healthy loaded breakfast cookies or nourishing pancakes made with “green banana” flour.

This Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie is Totally Guilt-Free

If you enjoy peanut butter cups, you’ll absolutely love this decadent and creamy pie. The best part? The recipe is super easy to make and doesn’t require any baking, so it’s perfect for those hot summer days. But instead of a traditional peanut butter pie, we’ve swapped in some healthier ingredients, like maple syrup instead of refined sugar and coconut milk instead of cream cheese, to make a dairy-free and refined sugar-free version. Using walnuts and dates to form the crust creates a subtly sweet and crumbly alternative that’s gluten- and grain-free. You’ll love the tasty indulgent combo of salty peanut butter and rich dark chocolate. Most of all, you can truly enjoy this no-bake pie knowing it’s made from good-for-you ingredients.

Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Prep Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 ½ cups walnuts
¼ cup dates
¼ cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
2 Tbsp coconut oil
⅛ tsp sea salt

Filling:
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ tsp sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
½ of a 70% dark chocolate bar (40 grams)
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:
1. You’ll make the crust first. If the dates are dried out or a bit tough, it’s best to soak them in a bowl with warm water to soften, around 5 minutes. Drain the dates out of the water. Then combine the walnuts, dates, cacao powder, coconut oil and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a minute or two until the mixture is crumbly and begins to stick together.
2. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with coconut oil. Then press the crumbled crust mixture flat across the bottom of the pie dish with your fingers so that it’s evenly spread out.

3. After rinsing out the food processor bowl, make the filling. Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, maple syrup and sea salt to the bowl and pulse several times to combine. The mixture will be thick and creamy.
4. Pour the filling over top of the crust and use a spatula to spread out evenly.
5. Place the pie into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. You can also chill the pie overnight and finish the rest of the steps the next day.

6. Set up a double boiler to make the chocolate topping: Add around 1 cup of water to a small pot, and place a small stainless steel bowl over top. Place the chocolate bar and coconut oil in the bowl. Heat on the stove top, stirring the mixture as the chocolate melts. Once the chocolate is fully melted and a smooth mixture, remove from the heat.
7. Take the chilled pie out of the fridge and use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate mixture over top.
8. Place the pie back in the fridge so that the chocolate topping solidifies. This will only take about 5 minutes.
9. Slice the pie and serve! It is best served chilled. Make sure to store leftovers in the fridge.

As the temperatures rise outside, you’ll probably want to skip the oven and opt for some of these 47 No-Bake Desserts You Need to Make This Summer and 35 Easy No-Cook Summer Meals instead.

Canada's Updated Food Guide

10 Biggest Dos and Don’ts From Canada’s Brand New Food Guide

When Canada’s long-anticipated food guide overhaul was recently unveiled, the overriding message was loud and clear: eat more plant-based fare. In its first major update in more than 12 years, the new guide has widened its scope and reminds Canadians to cook at home more often, be mindful in their eating habits and be conscious of food marketing in an effort to limit their intake of sodium, sugar and saturated fats. As many health professionals predicted, the 62-page guide also emphasizes the importance of getting protein from plant-based sources such as beans, nuts and lentils, rather than opting for animal-based foods such as meat and poultry. No doubt the verdict came as a surprise to consumers, who grew up learning about the four distinct food groups that Canada’s Food Guide once touted as essential to a healthy diet. So, what exactly has changed? A lot, as it turns out.

Here we look at the major dos and don’ts from Canada’s updated food guide:

1. DO Prioritize Protein-Rich Foods
Pack a protein punch by introducing more nutrition powerhouses into your everyday diet. Items such as nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, fish, eggs and lean red meat, among others, helps the immune system stay in tip-top shape and keeps us lean. To make the transition a little easier, stock your fridge and cupboards with hard-boiled eggs, canned beans and protein bars or powders so you’ll always have them on hand to add to your favourite recipe or enjoy as a snack.


Get the recipes for 28 High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

2. DO Consider More Plant-Based Foods
While many animal-based foods are nutritious and delicious, the new food guide places a stronger emphasis on plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant-based proteins, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Although this has drawn the ire of big meat and dairy producers, health professionals claim it’s for the betterment of both our health and the environment.

Get the recipes for 20 Easy Vegan Weeknight Dinner Recipes

3. DO Become BFFs With Water
As the latest food guide overhaul makes abundantly clear, water should now and forever be your “beverage of choice.” That’s right, in an effort to keep us hydrated and curb the amount of sugary soft drinks and juices consumed (not to mention alcohol), water is the way to go from here on in. If that all sounds a little… well …repetitive and dull, consider adding flavour to your H20 with a handful of your favourite fruits, veggie slices or a dash of herbs such as mint or basil. Another option is to incorporate more water-rich foods into your diet, such as cucumber, watermelon and zucchini. If all else fails, there’s an app for that! The free Daily Water app can help you track your daily H20 intake and, before you know it, you’ll be opting for water over a soft drink or glass of wine at your next meal or social gathering.

4. DO Expand Your Palate
Canada boasts a rich diversity that can be seen in the variety of traditions, cultures and lifestyles that make up our nation – and the latest guide wants us to expand our food repertoire by exploring recipes outside our palate’s comfort zone. For those less adventurous foodies, you can start by trying something new every day, starting with items in a similar taste group (“flavour families”) as one of your favourite foods. For example, if you prefer sweet foods such as corn, then you’ll probably also enjoy parsnips and butternut squash.

Get the recipes for 13 Must-Try Canadian Foods by Province

5. DO Consider the Environment
While the overall health of Canadians is the main focus of the recent food guide updates, our actions – and what we choose to consume on a regular basis – do have a lasting impact on the environment. For example, there is strong evidence that eating more plant-based foods (and, by default, less animal-based products) affects greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of land used and pollutants produced. So go ahead and reduce your carbon footprint by opting for more plant-based proteins.

6. DON’T Confuse Whole Grains with Whole Wheat
With an influx of fibre, iron, plant-based protein and B vitamins, whole grains sure pack a considerable nutritional punch. Whole grain kernels are divided into three distinct parts: bran (outer shell packed with fibre and antioxidants), endosperm (middle layer made up of carbs) and germ (inner layer chock-full of minerals, proteins and vitamins). It also allows for a lot of versatility in the kitchen, as quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, oatmeal and millet, among others, are all considered whole grains.

Get the recipes for 10 Healthiest Whole Grains and How to Cook Them

7. DON’T Netflix and Nosh
We may not want to admit it, but most of us are serial snackers – whether we’re unconsciously doing it while watching TV at the end of a long work day or indulging in an assortment of goodies at a social gathering. A more mindful approach to help you “snack smart” includes selecting healthier versions of some of your go-to staples (instead of fries or chips, for example, you can opt for sweet potato fries. Yum!).

8. DON’T Waste Food
It happens: Produce goes bad, post-party scraps end up in the trash, and sometimes leftovers are tossed out instead of saved for a later date. According to the updated Canada Food Guide, however, a whopping annual average of $31 billion in wasted food is discarded due to impulse shopping, poor storage and unnecessarily large meals. To combat the issue – and help save the planet in the process – consider keeping everything neat and visible in your fridge so you’re always aware of what food you have and, when preparing for a meal, be conscious of serving sizes. You can further reduce household waste by preserving leftovers, donating unused non-perishable items and understanding expiration dates. It’ll save you money in the long run, as well.


See here for 8 Ways to Cut Food Waste in Your Kitchen

9. DON’T Fall for Fad Diets
You’ve seen ads for them everywhere, from TV to Instagram, extolling the virtues of the latest fad diet for quick-fix weight loss. Instead of cutting out certain foods or restricting your intake, consider incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and opting for portion-controlled meals consisting of lean meats and fish. Enjoying a well-balanced breakfast every morning also goes a long way toward keeping your stomach satiated while waiting for your next meal – no diet required.

10. DON’T Ignore Food Labels – Especially Now
Sugar, along with saturated fat and sodium, are included in a group of items to cut back on. In fact, soft drinks are the number one source of sugar in the average Canadian diet. Cutting back on processed foods and reading food labels are easy ways to reduce your sugar and sodium intake. In addition, Health Canada has updated its nutrition label regulations, requiring that all sugar-based ingredients be listed in descending order by weight going forward. Food producers have three years to comply with this latest regulation.

These Best-Ever Vegan Gingerbread Cookies Feature a Secret Ingredient

What makes our vegan gingerbread cookies the best ever? Well, our secret ingredient is love…just kidding, it’s the creamy and nutty taste of almond butter! Whether you’re a fan of a tough ginger cookie or a soft one, our recipe satisfies both by being crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the middle, thanks to this star ingredient. You can also feel good knowing that you’re eating cookies that have fibre, good fats and a balance of spices that support the immune system. Whether you’re vegan or not, this cookie recipe is sure to satisfy your sugar cravings this holiday season.

Best-Ever Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients:
Cookie Dough
1 Tbsp ground flax or chia seeds
3 Tbsp warm water
¼ cup fancy molasses or unsulphured molasses
¼ cup coconut oil, softened
¼ cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups spelt flour
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt

Maple Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1 Tbsp almond milk
½ tsp maple syrup

Directions:

1. Make a vegan egg by placing 1 Tbsp of ground flax or chia seeds in a bowl with 3 Tbsp of warm water. Stir to combine, then let sit for 10 minutes until a gelatinous texture forms.
2. In a bowl, mix together all wet ingredients: the vegan egg, molasses, softened coconut oil, almond butter and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: spelt flour, coconut sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and sea salt. Mix well so the spices are evenly dispersed. Then pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and begin mixing together with your spatula until a batter forms.
4. Form the dough into a ball (you can leave it in the bowl) and then chill it in the fridge for 25 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out and cut with a cookie cutter.
5. While it’s chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
6. Once chilled, place the dough between two long sheets of parchment paper and use your rolling pin to roll it out. It should be about ¼ inch thick.
7. Using your cookie cutters, cut out 24 cookies. You can take the leftover scraps and either roll them into smaller cookies or flatten them out to be cut again.
8. Place the cookies on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
9. Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.
10. While the cookies are cooling, make the icing by mixing together the powdered sugar and vegan butter. Then stir in the almond milk and maple syrup until a thick texture forms. Pour the icing into a plastic Ziplock bag, squeeze out any air, then cut off a small corner of the bag to decorate.
11. You can decorate the cookies with icing, sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top or leave as is.

Want more gingerbread? Check out Anna Olson’s best gingerbread recipes!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Win Dinner With These Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

A satisfying dinner with a real Tex-Mex vibe, these slow cooker sweet potato enchiladas might just become a part of your weekly menu. We’ve made our own enchilada sauce, which is smoky, silky and hits all the right flavours, but if you’re stretched for time, a store-bought version or your favourite salsa will do the trick. The enchiladas are topped with queso fresco, a fresh and salty Mexican cheese that holds up to the heat, keeping its shape without melting. If you can’t find queso fresco, swap in feta, cheddar or skip the cheese altogether. Any way you build them, serving these enchiladas with a big scoop of avocado to garnish is an absolute must!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Filling:
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, to taste (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

Assembly and Topping:
8 to 12 corn or flour tortillas, divided
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled, divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 lime, quartered

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Directions:
Filling:
1. Add red pepper, sweet potato, onion and beans to a large bowl. Toss with garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt. Set aside.

Enchilada Sauce:
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, until fragrant and starting to turn translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, until fragrant. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, to taste, if using, salt and pepper. Toast the spices for 30 seconds, until fragrant and sizzling, then pour in crushed tomatoes and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
2. Carefully pour the enchilada sauce into a blender or food processor, or use a hand blender directly in the pot, and blend on low speed (low speed important for hot mixtures) until smooth.

Assembly:
1. Pour 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

2. Working on a clean surface, lay out 8 tortillas without overlapping. To the centre of each tortilla, add a scant 1/2 cup filling, tuck in two sides, then place the filled tortilla seam-side down in the slow cooker on top of the sauce. If you have extra filling, repeat this step with more tortillas, then layer them on top of the first round of filled tortillas. Or, skip the additional tortillas and scatter the additional filling over top.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

3. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and crumble 1/4 cup of the queso fresco evenly over top. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to cook on high for 2 hours, until the filling is tender and sauce is bubbling.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

4. When the timer runs out, remove the slow cooker lid and gently plate 2 enchiladas per person (they will be very soft and tender from slow cooking, so do this carefully). Top enchiladas with cilantro, avocado, remaining 1/4 cup of queso fresco and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Ready for more wholesome slow cooker solutions? Reignite your love for this retro kitchen appliance with our healthiest slow cooker recipes ever.

What Exactly Are Macros and How Do You Count Them?

You may be seeing the term macros more often these days thanks to the increased popularity of the keto diet and the general public’s heightened attention to the benefits of eating healthfully. The term is short for macronutrients, which includes the three most important nutrients required for the proper functioning of every body part and our overall well-being. Macros encompass carbohydrates, fats and protein, each bringing with them their own unique benefit for the body. At a basic level, carbohydrates give energy, fats provide satiation and proteins repair and build muscle – but the benefits don’t stop there.


Get the recipe for this Mexican Quinoa Bowl, which features a healthy balance of carbs, fat and protein. 

The following breakdown of macros is general, and varies from person to person. Every body is unique, with recommended intakes fluctuating based on age, activity level, weight, height and health status. Check with your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist if this is something you’re excited to know more about.

The Macros Basics

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are where our bodies can most easily turn to for energy. They’re especially important for brain functioning, as the brain gobbles up a huge percentage of the carbs we eat. Complex carbohydrates are preferable most of the time, but simple carbs can be beneficial to boost blood sugar levels quickly after a workout.

Fats

Fat not only adds flavour to food and keeps you full, but this macro is also incredibly important to one’s whole health. Fats nourish the brain and organs, help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E and D), contribute to proper hormone function, lubricate joints, keep skin soft and hair healthy, lubricate the eyes, regulate the mood and so much more. Suffice to say that fats are not to be skipped (unless you have an underlying health problem), and a well-rounded diet includes a balance of good-quality fat sources such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, eggs (with the yolk), fatty fish and avocado.


Get the recipe for Soba Noodles with Garlic Shrimp and Miso Dressing

Proteins

When you add protein to a meal, be that from eggs, steak, chicken breast, tofu or beans, you’ll likely notice that you feel satisfied and remain full for longer. Proteins are building blocks of muscle, enzymes, hormones, cartilage, bones, skin, hair, nails and blood. Neurotransmitters in the brain are built from protein (amino acids), which basically ensure that the different body parts can “talk” to each other. A complete protein contains all essential amino acids, which is found in animal protein sources. However, if you follow a plant-based diet, combining two different foods can replicate a complete protein. For example, pairing brown rice with black beans, or seeds with legumes, creates a complete protein full of all essential amino acids.

Why Focus On Macros?

Looking to our unique activity levels, age and lifestyle, it may be beneficial to pay closer attention to the macros you’re eating. For instance, if you workout often, in general, you’ll need more carbohydrates for energy than someone who lives a very sedentary lifestyle.

Those who are following a ketogenic diet believe that fat is the best fuel for weight loss purposes, as it takes more work to turn fat into energy than carbs. If you’re following a keto diet, you should be doing so under medical supervision.


Get the recipe for Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Why Count Macros?

Calorie counting is hard to stick to, and doesn’t put any focus on the nutrition found within the food. Counting macros, however, takes a more holistic look at all of the good-for-you nutrients you’re consuming. Most of it is common sense: look at a plate (or bowl) of food, and then see if it’s a healthy balance of carbs, fat, and protein. An example of this could be a large green salad with roasted sweet potato tossed in an olive oil-based dressing and paired with chicken, or the salmon tacos with avocado pictured below.


Get the recipe for Ina Garten’s Roasted Salmon Tacos 

If you’re looking to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, increase your energy levels or up your game at the gym, counting macros may help you along.

The Percentage of Macros You Need

These percentages of macros needed is dependent on a range of factors, so choose both what feels right and is recommended by your medical professional. The numbers are what you’re aiming for in your whole day, so plan meals accordingly:

Macros for General Health 

  • 45-65% carbs
  • 20-35% fat
  • 10-35% protein

Macros for Weight Loss

  • 30% carbs
  • 25% fat
  • 45% protein

Macros for Strength

  • 50% carbs
  • 20% fat
  • 30% protein

Macros for Endurance

  • 45-50% carbs
  • 20-30% fat
  • 15-20% protein

Macros for the Keto Diet (under medical supervision)

  • 6% carbs
  • 73% fat
  • 21% protein

How to Count Macros Successfully

If counting or tracking your macros is something you want to try, you have to know your weight (tied directly to body mass index) and activity level, as your carb, fat and protein intake requirements are entwined to these two pieces of information. Here’s a Macro Calculator that does the math for you, leaving you to just cook, eat and start tracking.

For overall well-being, counting macros or not, focus on whole, real, unprocessed foods made from scratch when possible, 80% of the time and keep those extras to 20% of the time. It can be as easy as that.

8 Vegan Ice Cream Recipes You Need to Make This Summer

Summer desserts are all about ice cream in all forms. And for those who follow a vegan diet, dessert fiends who require their sweets dairy-free and anyone who just loves an ice-cold treat, these veganized recipes deliver. There’s everyday ice pops given a cocktail twist, a zippy apple sorbet, no-churn vegan ice cream that tastes like the real thing, a celebratory ice cream cookie cake and more, all given a plant-based makeover. So embrace that brain-freeze this summer, and scoop up something delicious.

No-Churn Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This recipe uses whole-food ingredients to create a no-churn, better-for-you ice cream tinged with summer childhood nostalgia. Rich in healthy fats from avocado and cashews, sweetened with dates and infused with real mint and a surprise, naturally green superfood ingredient, it’s a healthy way to satisfy your ice cream craving during a heat wave.

Vegan Oreo Ice Cream Cake

One of the best-kept secrets in the snack food industry: Oreos are vegan. An entire cookie package forms the base, freckles the filling and garnishes the top of this decadent creation. Use your favourite vegan vanilla ice cream to keep things simple, or prepare your go-to homemade version. A true crowd-pleaser everyone, vegan or not, will scream about.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This recipe is doing its best Elvis impression, combining bananas, peanut butter and chocolate chips for a plant-based ice cream that you can make in a food processor. Frozen bananas act in lieu of dairy as the base, whipping up light and fluffy, just like ice cream, when frozen and blended. The peanut butter can be replaced with almond butter, sunflower seed butter or vegan chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Watermelon and Strawberry Icebergs

These pretty pink ice cream floats skip the dairy and soda pop, made instead with lycopene-rich watermelon, vitamin C-loaded strawberries and corn syrup-free sparkling water. This no-churn recipe can be made with the help of your freezer and a food processor or blender. For that “frosé” vibe, use sparkling pink wine in place of water.

Green Apple Sorbet

This (egg white optional) dairy-free sorbet is a refreshing end to a big vegan BBQ feast. Green apples bring a lovely pistachio hue to the finished product, but you could try this with your favourite apple variety like royal gala, pink lady or golden delicious for a rainbow of colours and tastes.

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Skip the scoop and turn to your muffin tin for a no-churn plant-based ice cream option. These freezer treats are like personal-sized icebox cakes, and are completely vegan, tasting like the best strawberry cheesecake ice cream from your local parlour.

Cocktail Popsicles

If a nightcap rather than ice cream is more your style for dessert, chill out with a cocktail popsicle. Choose from Stawberry-Aperol, Cucumber-Gin or Orange-Negroni ice lollies, all made without dairy.

Banana Ice Cream Sundae

Pile scoops of healthy, one-ingredient, frozen banana “ice cream” with your favourite sundae toppings for a vegan treat that both kids and adults will love to build and eat. Garnishes of mashed raspberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, pistachios and toasted coconut add a rainbow of colour, texture and summertime flavour (just skip the Greek yogurt called for or use coconut yogurt or coconut whip in its place). And the best part? Sundae add-ons don’t cost extra at home.

This Healthy Israeli Stuffed Pita is a Sandwich Lover’s Dream

Israel is known for their delicious falafel sandwiches, hummus, tabbouleh and baba ganouj. But somehow, one of their staple street foods never made it big outside of Israel. The sabich is a sandwich layered with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, Israeli salad, hummus and pickles, then drizzled with tahini. It’s a vegetarian’s dream! The sabich sandwich is usually eaten for breakfast, but makes a delicious lunch or dinner, too.

Israeli Sabich Sandwich 


Prep Time
: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Sandwich
1/2 eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 pitas
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup prepared hummus
1 1/2 cups Israeli salad* (see recipe below)
2 Tbsp tahini
Pickled turnip

Israeli Salad
1 small tomato, finely diced
2 baby cucumbers, finely diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss eggplant with olive oil and salt, then place as a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake eggplant until tender and golden brown, about 40 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through cook time.
4. Mix all Israeli salad ingredients together in a bowl.
5. Divide hummus between pitas. Layer eggplant, hard-boiled egg, cabbage and Israeli salad over hummus. Drizzle with tahini.
6. Fold pita and enjoy as a sandwich. Serve with pickled turnip.

Craving more Middle Eastern cuisine? Here are 12 Incredible Foods You Need to Try in Israel.

Instant Pot Turkey Chili is Healthy Comfort Food in a Flash

The Instant Pot, the electric pressure cooker,  allows you to create dishes that usually take hours, in just a matter of minutes. This easy turkey chili recipe is a weeknight dinner perfection. It has loads of hidden vegetables, lean protein and best of all, comes together in a snap without forfeiting that must-have slow-cooked taste we all know and love in a big bowl of comforting chili. It’s perfect for busy weeknights and weekends, and best of all, leftovers freeze well, too.

instant-pot-turkey-chili-1

Healthy Instant Pot Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
1½ tsp salt
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups kale, destemmed and finely chopped
1 (19 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup Greek yogurt, for serving
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese, for serving
¼ cup sliced green onions, for serving
lime wedges, for serving

chili-turkey-instant-pot

 

Directions:

1. Set Instant Pot, (or your electric pressure cooker) to sauté. Add turkey, cumin, chili powder and salt. Break up turkey and mix with spices to combine. Let turkey and spices brown, about 8 minutes, stirring intermittently.
2. Meanwhile, add onion, celery, carrot and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until vegetables turn into a smooth paste. Add vegetable paste to turkey and spices and stir to combine. Stir in tomato paste, followed by crushed tomatoes and kale.
3. Close lid and set Instant Pot to “Chili;” cook for 30 minutes. Allow pressure to release for 10 to 15 minutes until fully released or quick release using the vent. Stir in beans and allow to heat through.
4. Ladle chili in bowls and garnish with yogurt, cheddar cheese, green onions, and lime wedges for seasoning. Serve.

Slow things down in the kitchen and use your multi-cooker to make a warming Slow Cooker Irish Stew.